Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why I am not voting in this election
Both men represent systems of doing things that are rooted in fundamental violence and oppression.
By George Thicket & Thorp has got it! ‘Neither the sickle nor the swastika’ (to quote this blogger’s husband more than 15 years ago) nor a moral-majoritarian, fear-mongering (‘blame the gays’) theocrat (Baldwin, who happens to be Protestant, the kind of fascist Sinclair Lewis predicted for America and some of McCain’s and Palin’s fans want) nor ‘Republican lite’ (Barr).

The Protestant right used to be for peace, in World War I for example (and true of the Southern Baptist Convention as recently as 1936), but changed; the Protestant left are dead the same.
Obama, to begin with, is not and has never been the “peace candidate,” even excepting his undiminished support for abortion-on-demand. While his early rhetoric sounded anti-war and even slightly radical, he has long since obediently and probably willingly shifted into the usual centre-right position, an advocate of American exceptionalism — one supported only part of the time, in certain places, by bombs and bullets, you understand. Mr. Obama would have us leave off one war — that in Iraq (though not too quickly!) — in order to escalate another, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That even more civilians are being slaughtered by American “smart” bombs in the latter places seems to be of little importance; it is the good war, after all, and that no one disputes. Besides those stated objectives, Mr. Obama would have us continue to proselytize the world for democracy etc. etc., and in those promises the threat of force is never far... wraps his imperialism in lofty rhetoric and sometimes anti-war sounding evasions.

State violence becomes virtually sacrosanct: the drug war, the war on terror, are all holy wars, the fight of noble Civilization against its dark, murderous enemies.
Don’t forget O’s promises to Aipac and Israel. Some ‘change’ candidate.
One of the great perversions of modern life: the “right” to destroy is not only important, but essential, the underpinning of the all-holy human (well, the right sort of human that is) ability to control all things, from unwanted children to unwanted nations.
You cannot enter upon the holy scriptures without someone to go before you and show you the way.
St Jerome

Monday, September 29, 2008

From the LRC blog
  • HOORAY! What a heroic day! I know they will just print the money anyway, one way or another, but I’m still feeling all tingly to see the power elite get their nose bloodied in a popular revolt. If I can be excused for polishing our waistcoat buttons, the Austrian School is the center of the opposition to the Fed, its boom, and its bust, and the attempted additional swindle. It is the Paulians, the Mises Institute, and LRC that are responsible for the intellectual leadership of this huge popular victory, and even for the arguments used by Republican and Democratic congressman against the bailout. Against us stand the entire rapacious establishment. A century of work by brilliant and courageous men and women is bearing fruit. Join the Austro-libertarians in this battle! This was a victory for the people and Paulian libertarians and repudiation of Bush, Obama, McCain, Pelosi, Reed, Boehner and the MSM.
  • Here’s Ron Paul.
  • It’s not over yet.
  • Who needs Nasa? First private rocket makes it into space.
From RR
Ecumenism: cui bono?
A Roman Catholic writes:
What has been the ecumenical outcome? Still no closer to actual reunion — but instead the greatest meltdown in [Roman] Catholic membership and practice in England since the Reformation. Add to that the whole fairly brutal post-Conciliar assault on traditional Catholic liturgy and devotion did great damage (irony of ironies) to spiritual affinity with Orthodoxy, the one group of Christians that ecumenical dialogue might eventually reunite to Rome. For there was a profound commonality between the traditional rites of Rome and Constantinople, with their shared emphasis on sacrifice, sanctuary and sacramental priesthood, their shared ad orientem worship, and their common emphasis on the overt display of reverence for the Virgin Mary and the saints. Many Orthodox find what passes for liturgy and devotion in a typical modern [Roman] Catholic parish unattractive and unworthy of a Divine Liturgy. (If any in the current English Catholic liturgical establishment is under the illusion that Pope Benedict’s restoration of the 1962 Missal is somehow unecumenical, they would be quickly disabused by the Orthodox bishop who was joyfully in attendance with me at a recent Missa Cantata in the Old Rite at the London Oratory, and whose welcome for Summorum Pontificum was frank and open.)
As the writer suggests, the Orthodox simply aren’t taken seriously — in Western countries there just aren’t that many of them. (If that were different I dare say they’d be hated by mainstream society as much as Rome. No Pope to blame and they choose to be... Catholic.)

Looking Catholically/non-myopically/non-ethnocentrically to the historical and current big picture, what’s dividing Rome and Orthodoxy, otherwise essentially the same church, is not the existence of the papacy but beliefs on its foundation and scope, not at all the same as Western liberals’ disagreement with the Pope because he’s Catholic (‘I can’t change that — I’m only the Pope’). As each claims to be the infallible church, union won’t happen. Stalemate.

That and the massive protestantisation of Rome on the ground level as this and other honest writers admit.

(My guess is the Lesser Eastern Churches and Orthodoxy will reunite officially and relatively soon, long before any other Catholic union.)

The real difference is not credal or sacramental but regarding how the infallible church works; Protestants say the church is fallible, a whole other kettle of fish. (Individual conversions are the only way for Protestants to come on board.)

For Protestants with their many self-refuting theologies, in the long run their destinations are Rome, Byzantium or the abyss (unbelief as in ‘post-Christian’ Europe); the two big Catholic churches probably will remain in a perpetual standoff until the end of time (perhaps a divine joke that goes over our heads).
The [Roman] Catholic Church’s present commitment to ecumenical dialogue with Protestantism has proved, at least as far as securing actual Christian unity is concerned, a policy failure. It has certainly produced deeply valuable forms of local cooperation; but usually, as on life issues, between specific Protestant and Catholic groups who share firm Christian convictions on moral issues, and who share them as part of a common detachment from any theological liberalism — and who precisely for that reason are under no illusions about each other’s very differing beliefs on other questions, and fully acknowledge and respect the profoundly different theological and ecclesial identity of each.

Theological agreements with Protestantism are, at their best, something of a mirage.
There’s real ecumenism, talking to other Christians to teach them the truth about the church and clear up misconceptions about the other side (which Rome had no objection to in principle/doctrine), and then there’s common-knowledge ‘ecumenism’, exactly the indifferentism Rome and the Orthodox condemn, which is essentially code for liberal Protestants and RC liberal-Protestant wannabes, often from Protestant countries, getting together and agreeing with each other like it means anything to Catholics.
I question whether real ecumenical dialogue is always taking place rather [than] what is not often more than British politeness.
Fr Steel
Six baffling mistakes every movie criminal makes
From Cracked
George Carlin on wars and stilted corporate talk
His ‘Jammin’ in New York’ concert. Sounds like he read Paul Fussell too! Brilliant. Anyway it may be less funny but much of my job is finding those redundant words meant to impress and zapping them before they show up in print. (Which should do what the writer was trying to do.) I like it.

The writers of both ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ know the US military are fond of this inept try at sounding smart:
As you might presently yourself fully be aware of, my grammar sucks.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

From Daniel Larison
  • The Democratic “defensive crouch” on national security, that instinctive, fearful huddling that entails caving all major points of disagreement with the opposing party in order to appear “credible” and “serious” on this issue. McCain and Obama said almost identical things on foreign policy aside from Iraq, which leaves the undecided voter trying to discern between the presentation of these nearly-identical views. I have found the small consolation that Obama is at least a slightly more cautious hawkish interventionist, so that’s something.
  • Misesian common sense on the bailout. The pols may be grandstanding (like cancelling convention events owing to a hurricane nowhere near the convention ‘to show you care’) or they may really care but they’re still wrong. ‘Do nothing.’
  • Analysing Palin’s interviews. She ‘don’t know much about’ lots of things and it’s starting to show. Palin’s political style is the logical extreme of the Bushian folksiness-trumps-expertise and McCainesque “authenticity”-trumps-policy approaches. She is a natural product of mass democracy’s ongoing pursuit of charismatic mediocrity, in which voters not only seek someone with whom they can identify but also actively discourage politicians’ cultivation of expertise. Expertise grates against their egalitarianism, and so they try to avoid it in their political leaders. She is essentially the anti-Romney; she is the antithesis of a technocrat. If he thinks “getting into the weeds” is important, she wants to race right by them. That is part of the reason why a lot of people love her, and why most people detest Romney.
  • The entire Palin episode has been like some drunken bacchanalia that gave way to a terrified awakening several weeks too late. When her critics were painting her as a new Eagleton, her supporters were laughing at them as lunatics filled with hate, and now they are beginning to think that the haters may have been onto something. The GOP is experiencing self-immolation, and I can’t say that I am very bothered by that.
  • Yes, Tina Fey’s making fun of her is kind of cute because Fey is.
  • Not that the Russian vote is big enough by itself to change anything but a lot of the ethnic Russians who are here, including immigrants and second- and third-generation Americans, seem to favor the Democrats anyway for a number of other reasons. Fitting into the RC and Jewish immigrant-worker mould, still true of people who no longer really practise and are no longer labourers. (A lot of Joe Biden’s appeal: ‘he’s one of us’.)
    Neither candidate will acknowledge that the Georgians escalated the conflict. The establishment is foursquare behind NATO expansion, “democratic” solidarity and standing up to Putin, and perhaps no one more so than Obama’s running mate. The electoral calculation behind this position seems to be that there are not enough ethnic Russian-Americans in this country who will take anti-Russian posturing ill, so there is basically no political downside to railing against Russian perfidy.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man. Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • The Eucharist and moral transformation: Fr Steel on Pope Benedict’s teaching. This is a serious area where we need to bring our “tat” up to our hat and engage our conceptual frameworks with the pursuit of true liturgical holiness. That’s Anglo-Catholic for walking the walk.
  • Fr Steel also writes that he believes in ‘incarnating the Mass as theological beauty, invoking all the senses’ or lex orandi and so on. Why all that artsy old-fashioned stuff matters. Commenter Gengulphus adds that trying to give that up would be ‘the ultimate and desolating corruption which perverts the sacrifice into an idolatry’. Pope Benedict: When the community of faith, the world-wide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence? Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless.
  • On a well-formed conscience. Reason is submission to objective reality.
  • ‘So what do monks do all day?’ Treat, trying his vocation with the Cistercians, answers that. Monasteries support themselves with jobs from the traditional such as making cheese to computer work including online. More.
    We’ve also been learning the local Latin. (Here, thanks to the Central European influence, mihi is “meekee,” etc.)

    The final area of personal practice is usually called mental prayer. This is taking the time to talk to and listen for God and people do it in many different ways. I usually find that it helps for me to distract my fidgety body in some way, so the half-hour walk I try to take down one of our trails each morning between lauds and terce is a particularly good time for me. I have a couple favorite places where I like to sit and pray.
    Mine is in bed before falling asleep, not uncommon. An ordinand in England a long time ago told me that was when he and God had chats.
    Be still then, and know that I am God.
    — Psalm 45/46:10

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Has the McCain campaign machine broken Palin?
Explaining the CBS interview débàcle
The LRC blog on the debate
  • McCain’s fake stand for small government.
  • His ‘humble’ foreign policy.
  • Obama’s programme: More war, more spending, more killing, more socialism, more regulations, more government in all directions. What a great race.
  • His nationalism: ‘No American soldier ever dies in vain. Because they were following the orders of their Commander in Chief.’ Jawohl.
  • They both want more aggression against the Persians but Obama is cooler-headed, with better rhetoric and less terrifying promises for war.
  • They are also both horrible on Russia and NATO and believe in ‘energy independence’ — as in massive subsidies to all energy sectors and economic autarky.
Alex Massie’s and Daniel Larison’s liveblogging
Oh, God. Russia. Yup, Obama wants an action plan to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. He won’t get any argument from McCain on that. McCain says Obama is a naive pansy vis à vis Russia.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Liveblogging the debate
Obama’s playing Robin Hood, just what most people want to hear, whilst McCain makes appealing conservative noises

Let’s have a look at the Republicans’ record again:

Update: On the war on Iraq it’s flip-flopped: Obama sounds better than McCain, more like a peace candidate, which I think is as insincere as McCain’s conservative impersonation and is full of holes anyway (on principle he’s a lefty hawk).
From RR
  • ‘Don’t blame me; I didn’t vote!’ “This is the guy (or gal, it matters not) I want holding the gun at the barrel of which my life and property will be controlled along with everyone else! Yeah! Freedom! Liberty! Democracy! America!” No, thanks.
  • Politicalspeak glossary.
  • Wall Street socialism: From now on, any petty tyrant anywhere in the world who takes over an industry will shut his critics up by saying that an American administration led by the party of free enterprise has done a de facto nationalization of a good chunk of U.S. capitalism.
  • This is not a bailout; it is an unraveling. You and I are being sold out, blatantly, publicly, and with the cooperation and collusion of the press and Congress. Was it a bad thing, that idea Karl Marx and Fred Engels hatched for the people to collectively own truck factories and potato farms? Maybe it was. But it’s a far, far worse idea that we should put up our savings to buy discredited institutions that exist primarily to shuffle and reshuffle money in the interest of ever-greater, ever-shakier and more precariously propped-up profits.
  • Left-libertarian CLS disagrees with the anti-immigration positions of pols I otherwise like, preferring the classic ‘they hold jobs natives don’t want’ line. I don’t like the whiff of xenophobia from part of the right either.
  • The fact that most Americans refuse to grow up and be adults has many results. One of them is critically relevant here: most Americans will not accept that actions have consequences, and that those consequences are sometimes irrevocable. Your prayers will not restore over a million slaughtered Iraqis to life. Your wishes will not instantaneously erase the horrifying memories that make an American soldier unable to sleep, incapable of holding a job, and that make him a stranger to his own family. There are times when our actions lead to results that cannot be undone.
  • Biden the old hawk. Obama’s Dick Cheney? Of course if you pay attention you’ll see O himself is a lefty hawk (Aipac and AfPak, folks); the people who don’t listen think he’s the peace candidate.
  • Crises are lousy environments for maintaining freedom.
  • In fifty-odd days Americans will snake to the polls and make it official: Ron Paul will not be president. Someone else will be. His erstwhile supporters will have to find another candidate worthy of their votes, and move on. But what if they, you know, don’t? He’s sensibly going back to Congress instead of throwing it all away but hooray for Montana’s Rick Jore.
  • Six years in Guantánamo. Sami al-Haj’s story told by the venerable Robert Fisk.
  • Demon drink. Not again!
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
Anglo-Americans as portrayed on television
Known in America as WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants; this includes people of other Northern European stock like New York’s old Dutch Knickerbockers). I’ve never seen most of the shows being talked about but get the point. Why so unflattering, outdated and simply wrong?
My favorite TV moment of this sort is from the a show starring the Dreyfus chick from ‘Seinfeld’, ‘New Adventures of Old Christine’ [sic]. She plays a struggling single mom, trying to keep her child in a Los Angeles ‘country day’ type school. Of course, all the other children are blond or sandy-haired! While Christine and her spawn are both dark-haired. Of course Christine wants to bring diversity to the school, in the form of a black child, while some Stepford Wives-type characters try to block this noble endeavor.

Everything about ‘Gossip Girl’ is modern, from the drugs to the iPhones, except for the sociological background, which the writers may as well have lifted out of the Gilded Age.

The rich kids all have names like Waldorf, Archibald, Bass and van der Woodsen. In reality, however, the families of the old Protestant Establishment make up only a minority of New York’s wealthy elite.
Just like the mainline churches haven’t called the shots but rather have been chasing secular society’s trends for at least 30 years.

There’s also the correct Paul Fussellian point about real class not flaunting wealth: English modesty and acting as though one doesn’t need or crave money (driving a 20-year-old Buick not riding in a Rolls-Royce).
WASPs, however, unlike others wealthy groups, have not formed a pressure group to punish studios that portray them unfavorably. (WASPs instead prefer to express themselves politically through benign environmental causes, with perhaps a little feminism mixed in.)
See above on the mainline churches. Well-meant charity as political correctness.
Many ... television shows ... are nothing more than Jews making fun of ... non-Jews.
There are also the factors of deliberate dumbing-down, giving those outside a culture what they expect not the real thing, and envy and emulation of what one thinks the culture is.
The one US sitcom that ever really offended me was ‘Seinfeld’, where WASP women were treated as disposable bags of meat.

Most US sitcoms take the more passive-aggressive approach of making the WASP male characters impotent.
I appreciated Larry David’s intelligence but never really liked ‘Seinfeld’, a kind of Jewish humour built on put-downs.

From Taki.
From the LRC blog
  • Whatever happens, I do believe McCain has played this crisis well, and will probably win this round of politics. He can still spin this. The Republicans are masters at distorting reality. He can run against his own party’s and establishment’s failures. He’s been doing it, and it has worked before. LRC teaches that government intervention only makes things worse and McCain may well be grandstanding but I get the intended message: this is serious and even though his answer may be wrong maybe he really cares.
  • The bailout in a nutshell: Taking money from people who made good investments and giving it people who made bad investments in the hope that the people who made bad investments will make good investments in the future and the people who made good investments will keep making them even though they will have less money to do so.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Criticizing crunchy conservatism

Criticizing crunchy conservatism
There are things I’ve liked about it since I learnt of it years ago but this seems spot-on: crunchinesss is SWPL (who likewise like nice things and, living off the moral capital of Christianity, often have good intentions) with some better ideas, or coercive, socially conservative soft socialism that emotionally appeals to well-off orthodox Christians without a least a smattering of Austrian economics. (Note to RCs: read up on the Salamancan school.)

For example Rod Dreher wants to:
Ban cloning, strictly limit human genetic research, and closely regulate the biotech industry;... Shape zoning restrictions to favor the preservation of old buildings of historical value, require new development to conform to high aesthetic standards, and provide more public spaces for human interaction; and ... Adopt an attitude toward business laws that favors small businesses over large corporations.
I’ve no problem with the first two as they agree with the no-harm principle of libertarianism (essentially the golden rule) just as there are laws against murder. This is not limited to one religion (so it’s fine according to libertarianism and the US Constitution) but is part of the Catholic consistent ethic of life that opposes killing inconvenient babies, war on Iraq and automatically siding against Palestinians.

From Taki.
What was he thinking?
  • The buzz on Paul endorsing Baldwin. Here I’m breaking with the great man and still staying home. After all libertarianism by nature is not a leader cult. I answer this entry from an outraged left-libertarian here but essentially agree on not voting for the Constitution Party. That said at least Baldwin signs onto Paul’s four broad principles he named at his recent press conference. And: The secular left hates freedom of religion as much as the religious right does. Cultural liberal does not necessarily equal libertarian in my opinion. So do some of the religious left.
  • Libertarianism shrugged.
  • Nice thought but no. Many (most?) people just aren’t that well-informed and don’t think things through. The lazy default option would have remained Obama. (The power of positive prejudice: he’s black therefore he’s for whatever I want changed.) This is true: A flaw is saying “Hard to its [the GOP] right”. Ron Paul is in a different dimension altogether. He is as much as far to the left. And: Ron Paul’s political survival as a congressman probably trumps anything that would have been gained by a third-party candidacy.
Aged 42
I’ll change into an old fogey or simply a fogey if I make it to 50. Or call myself ‘Curmudgeon’ or ‘High Church Nomad’ online (as I do in Damian Thompson’s blog).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two on a theme: the bailout

That’s it!
Tina Fey is probably, deservedly flattered that she was asked to do an ‘SNL’ sketch about another attractive brunette with glasses but I never saw a strong resemblance.

No, Sarah Palin is a younger version of Peggy Hill! (Like McCain’s Cotton.) Apparently this one’s been around since Palin became widely known but I just heard about it today.

Dead brill.

From Joshua
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you can just get the gun nuts and the potheads to trust one another
Then libertarianism would take off, writes LutherPunk
From LRC
  • The good that Ron Paul has done: Countless Americans accustomed to thinking in terms of economic freedom vs. “personal” freedom learned to think about liberty holistically.
  • The Cold War was a scam simply invented to “scare the hell out of the American people”: conservatives shifted from opposing foreign intervention to being warmongers and evangelists for globaloney once the Commies were the official enemy.
  • Strangely, the public seethes over gas [fuel-price] increases but yawns over bailouts. ‘They’re too big to fail; we’re not too big to fleece.’
  • The conservative claims a liberal bias in [state] education; they claim a liberal agenda. They are right. However, the conservatives only propose to force their bias on the liberals. The conservatives also have an agenda. Both groups seek to use government, and both are winning and losing at the same time. What the state schools are about: you adopt a Gramscian approach and slowly destroy the institutions of free association — of liberty and freedom. You attack the family, the church, etc., in a roundabout way.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Paul endorses Baldwin
I don’t — I understand he’s a sometime Moral Majoritarian whose rhetoric includes ‘blame the gays’ so no. Still staying home.
Google drops double standard in use of word abortion in ads
In the past, Google would not sell the “abortion” keyword to religious groups, but did sell it to other groups, including secular groups, doctors offering abortions and resource sites like Our Bodies, Ourselves.
From LRC
  • The moral free market vs the immoral US Treasury and Fed. A free market is not a lawless market. It is governed by natural law and judges and juries administering that law. It is governed by agreements that merchants make among themselves, and judges and juries that handle disputes that arise.
  • ‘Rationing by lining up’ makes the fuel shortage worse.
  • Iran, how dare you try and defend yourself. Of course, no one wants to see Israelis killed in a nuclear attack. Nor, I would hope, does anyone want to see Iranians suffer that same fate. But if Israel can have nuclear weapons to defend itself, by what logic is that same defense denied to its neighbors? If Iran’s development of atomic weapons is “de-stabilizing” then why not urge Israel to do away with its own nuclear arsenal? Then both countries could be subject to inspections to maintain their nuclear innocence. And finally, why should other nations intrude themselves into Middle Eastern affairs? The usual answer, I believe, is: oil. But it’s Iran and Iraq that have the oil. Well, then, Western governments want to protect Israel, presumably for humanitarian reasons. Fine and good. But why not protect Iran as well? Aren’t Iranians as human as Israelis? My gosh, we wouldn’t discriminate, would we? And Iran’s got the oil, remember?
Is Palin another Agnew?
Said not to be very nice and she even pushes some of the same culture-wars buttons appealing to the ‘silent majority’
‘I’m a PC’
I am! I like Bill Gates’ new ad too — ‘a powerful example of the art that capitalism produces’ — but wonder if he needs it as 1) John Hodgman as PC is so endearing he steals the show in Apple’s ads and 2) I like Charley’s ‘realistic Apple ad’ idea of a buff, buzzcut young man as a PC and somebody like Tommy Chong’s hippy-burnout character as a Mac. From the LRC blog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Russian military nostalgia

Saw this Yak and a similar Chinese plane together over Mount Laurel, New Jersey yesterday.

‘So you’re keen on aeroplanes? Cor, you’ll be sick as a dog once you get up there. Terrible things.’

Given how cruel the Russian military are in their own ranks (a man I used to know was conscripted into the Soviet army and ended up in a mental hospital after a few months) I imagine there’s not much to be nostalgic about, certainly true of the Soviet régime, but I’m still a sucker for these marvellous old-fashioned machines.
The bailout
Three wrong ideas about the Catholic churches: rebuttals
Good answers to ‘your religion is nothing but superstitious empty show’ more like a lucky rabbit’s foot than real faith in God, ‘you think you earn your way into heaven’ and ‘you worship saints’.

Orthodox Fr Peter Gillquist answered the first: he describes how even the most free-form, anti-liturgical church eventually creates a rite without meaning to; it’s human nature! (Witness some conservative Protestants’ love of the King James Bible, much like some Roman Catholics and Latin.)

There is the perennial trap of treating the ritual like a contract: you do it correctly and now God or the god owes you one. In short, magic, where you’re temporarily in control. But that’s not Catholic doctrine and I dare say not unknown among Protestants.

As for the second, Rome and most of the world’s Lutherans agree correctly that faith versus works was always a non-issue. (Might Lutherans’ real problem be they’re weak on ecclesiology, the Achilles’ heel of all of Protestantism?)

Regarding the third, Jesus saves; Mary and the other saints pray. Arturo came up with a good answer recently: in a way we did appropriate the Græco-Roman pantheon but replaced silly made-up deities with real people worth venerating (not worshipping in the modern sense of adoration).


From Per Christum.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

From RR
By George he’s got it
This realization — not just one in the head, but one that’s moved into the heart — is what’s moved me out of the angst and train-wreck fascination with elections. What a complete waste of emotional energy. No government agent at any level is ever going to do me any real good. Oh, sure, I like my taxes lowered so that I’m not complicit in a government’s immoral use of my money and can give it to people I know who really need it, rather than waste it on triplicated government salaries. And I have a thing or two to say about government activities that more quickly and easily facilitate the turn of my society into a cesspool of disgusting behaviors for my daughters to grow up in. So, I exercise my moral obligation to participate in my government with diligence.

But you know what: government doesn’t really help anyone. At best, at
BEST, it restrains evil.

Government isn’t God, Obama isn’t the Messiah (nor is McCain), the oceans won’t roll back, and often the best outcome is the least evil option.

The rest is up to us.

This world ain’t home, gents. We're all going to die. Don’t become too attached to it.
Benedict Seraphim

From Thursday Thoughts
  • The archi-liturgical culture war and the need for re-iconisation. Like the legitimate liturgical movement of old, Fr Aidan Nichols looks favourably towards Orthodox practice. Of course one need not be showy or precious with all this. I would miss the icons but the cold modern building in the first picture (a cerebral German look I imagine young Joseph Ratzinger going in for) would work just fine with the older forms of the rite; essentially what the liturgical movement had in mind! Thomas Day explains wonderfully that modern RC revision has always had its wires crossed: they destroy liturgical space and services but, to fill the freezer-like void they left, they do what they’ve (the Irish anyway) always done and junk it up with soppy unliturgical hymns (the guitar Mass is a pseudo-hip update of the Low Mass with hymns) and, now possible with the gutting of the rite, cute gimmicks, the worst of both the old and the new or the opposite of what the LM wanted. Note to Western Catholics who say they just love the Orthodox and are keen on reunion: the Orthodox vision of what Western Catholicism should again be is St Augustine’s, Denver, which looks a lot like what Pope Benedict wants and not your local parish or university chaplaincy living in the 1970s and 1980s. P.S. I’ve been to All Saints’, Margaret Street; Pusey House and Comper’s All Saints’ Convent. From the big blog of church porn ;) TNLM.
  • Good stuff from Fr Hunwicke in case you missed it the first time: 1662 Communion is an eccentric rite which has never been central to the life of the Church. The Prayer Book is a hieratic idiom of liturgical English which I regard as a precious treasure but I wonder whether we shouldn’t regard it as even more important to have, say, an English Missal Society or — what about this — a Priestly Fraternity of S Gregory (FSSG) for the practical experience of the Roman Rite in the Anglican context. And it would help us when RCs ask that dodgy question ‘What exactly is it that you want to bring with you into Full Communion?’
  • Cranmer’s clueless order. Not only was he a heretic. Granted the revisers of the Roman Rite after Trent didn’t know much about ancient liturgics either so their ‘return to primitive practice’ blessedly did little harm, a tidying-up of late-mediæval practice.
Damn right they do
Gurkha heroes deserve the right to live in Britain.

This regiment won 13 Victoria Crosses. Now there is a Maoist regime in their native Nepal and they would prefer to live under the Crown they served so well.

The thought of what you have to do to get a Victoria Cross, let alone thirteen in a single regiment, is staggering.

But of course, because they’re war heroes, the British Communists Labour party doesn’t want them. Nice.

Oh right. I forgot for a second.

I’m supposed to be a racist.

Too bad I’ve lost my secret Lefty decoder ring.
Like that late Anglo-Catholic priest I knew who was thrown out of Namibia in the 1960s for opposing apartheid and ended his days supplying at a Continuing church. He didn’t change; his church did (Articles XIX and XXI gave the ending away). Must not have got the memo that Catholics are just bigots, the lot of them.

From Hilary White.
US out of Korea and Japan
It’s time for Tokyo and especially Seoul to behave like serious members of the international community rather than spoiled teenagers, and provide responsible leadership in East Asia.
From Joshua.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • Tightening up approval of Marian-apparition claims. Part of Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival the Protestants and secular people probably didn’t expect, if any of them follow such doings. (Common knowledge since the ‘Reformation’ is we use those things to manipulate the emotions of the gullible and thus separate them from their money.) I understand that before the 1960s débàcle, church-approved writings about these phenomena, like use of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass, were strictly controlled by the diocesan bishop for good theological reasons. (And he has the final say on such claims, part of his apostolic authority.) Of course the Mother of God is an essential part of the faith for exactly the reason that title says, and there is always a place for affective piety; mine happens to be more Christ- and Eucharist-centred (I like the Sacred Heart devotion for example). Filtering out her negative view of her sex, Hilary has a point about the fever swamp Marianism’s often become, accelerated by crossover with the 1970s charismatic craze (now on the wane like fake apparitions in Bosnia). This Holy Father on the other hand ‘gets’ Mass-and-office Catholicism, what Derek calls Benedictine and Anglican. Protestant belief and opinion about Marian devotion is a spectrum from the classical ones’ ‘It’s idolatry and an abomination!’ to the politically correct condescension of the modern mainline: people they think primitive ‘might need that sort of thing (like the Tibetans and their cute little god-king) but we know it’s really a feminine archetype’ and all that. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  • Derek: Your Office practices are soundly within the catholic tradition and are essentially those of Lay Roman Catholic piety where the emphasis is on praying Lauds and Vespers. Of course he means the historical RC mainstream. I know that most Roman Catholics don’t know the Office. I only know two who pray it. One is a also a New Testament Medievalist type, the other an Anglican convert...
  • The Episcopalians sack a moderately conservative diocesan bishop. My comment. Their last two Anglo-Catholic diocesans are next. As for mainline Protestantism in general Joseph Bottum has said it all for me.
  • A hero of the Californian train wreck: a Continuing Churches priest.
  • ‘Il miracolo è fatto!’ St Januarius. Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.
And the rich he hath sent empty away
From LRC
What Russia wants
Is perfectly natural. From AmConMag.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let’s say we do have a 1930s-style Depression...
...with all the misery and social unrest that came with it. How do you think that would affect the shape of American politics? How would it affect the parties?

My guess is that Pyrrho is right: social liberalism would be the first to go.
As P.J. O’Rourke once said ‘spirituality’ would be out and religion in. Not hobby religion as Arturo calls it; real religion as in ‘I have to answer to God’. True in some cases but, as Rod Dreher suggests, involuntary poverty also drives a lot of people away from God.

Camille Paglia is spot-on here as well.
From Joshua
The Obama thought police, parts I and II
From Steve Sailer
Obama the war candidate
Military expert Bill Lind on the fool’s errands in AfPak and Iran the senator wants
Obama is largely right on Iraq. Whether he would follow through on his plan for withdrawing U.S. troops is another question.
We’ve already heard his ‘forces on the ground’ weaselling.
His position on Afghanistan is mere posturing intended to show he will be “tough on terrorism.”
Which means he’ll try to do it but hasn’t really thought it out; he knows nothing about the military.
Obama wants to send in more troops and win the war.
And do what the British and Russian empires couldn’t? ‘Yes, we can!’ No, you can’t.
Obama called for direct U.S. military action in Pakistan, with or without Pakistani approval.
Regarding Iran remember what he said to Aipac. This is what he promised to do for Israel:
An attack on Iran could cost us the whole army we have in Iraq. It could set the region on fire, from Afghanistan to the Nile. It could create an oil crisis with severe economic consequences at a time when the world economy is tottering. It is, in short, madness.
Assuming he’s a man of his word, don’t vote for him (or the other guy).

From LRC.
Rotten AIG
From the LRC blog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scroll down the linked page
This film is the most dreadful skinny-dipping in the pool of the past. Cheesy and nostalgic mise en scène over meaningful engagement with the music.
Took a break from my gangster-film fest to see this. ‘Lighten up!’ I said to myself. Glad I didn’t waste a tenner on this at the cinema; at least it’s fun to laugh at. This should have been a giveaway success. Moulin Rouge! shouldn’t have worked and this should: anachronistic music as opposed to setting a fantastic songbook in its own period. Yet MR! works wonderfully. This doesn’t. The historical mishmash (buzzcuts and bobby socks in one scene, hippies the next, back and forth; the blond guy looks like a time-traveller from the Noughties) is only one of its problems. Like the Fabs in their horrible films Jim Sturgess is better than this material.

It has its moments — early-1960s England, the businessmen’s dance for a few seconds in ‘Come Together’, the Dalí-like clouds in the otherwise awful interpretation of ‘Dear Prudence’, a few performances like ‘I Am the Walrus’ and ‘Because’ as self-contained music videos, and ‘Revolution’, IMO one of the only times the scene both does justice to the song and works well with the plot.

The second hour is better that way, once they stop jumping around in time... but stomaching the first is the challenge. As EW puts it:
It’s almost fun to pick out which use of the Beatles makes you gag the most.
By Daniel Larison
What caused Monday’s meltdown
Whatever his rhetoric, Obama would ultimately inject more taxpayer-funded capital into markets, prop up more of those semi-governmental financial institutions, and hand out more golden parachutes to the CEOs with connections and “pull.” Put simply, the Man of Change doesn’t threaten the status quo in the least.
From Taki.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weasel words
This person seems to know the central, distinctive doctrines of Christianity but of course I don’t like seeing them described as ‘crap’. I’m guessing he’s a Roman Catholic; a look at other doctrines might help him understand the consistent ethic of life which allows the death penalty for some crimes (very different from murdering an inconvenient baby) and just war (thus pro-life and anti-war are not hypocritical). Other than that not bad.
Pro-choice is a euphemism, and people generally employ euphemisms when want to avoid using a word that has bad connotations, like, say, abortion.

Homophobic literally means “afraid of humans (and their close relatives)” or “afraid of sameness.” Under either definition, I qualify as homophobic. I’m scared of people and monotony, and especially monotonous people.

You can’t fight a war against a state of mind (“terror”) or a military tactic (“terrorism”). You can only fight wars against groups of people.
From Fr Methodius.
Peter Hitchens’ Sunday entry
There is no such organisation as ‘Al Qaeda’. The spooks know this, Cabinet Ministers know this and so do the ‘security correspondents’ who so readily trot out the spooks’ point of view on our broadcasting networks.

Of course, there are terrorists, and there are also fantasists, fanatics, low-lifes and camp followers who plot and attempt horrible things. Some of them even call themselves ‘Al Qaeda’ these days because they have learned that this is a good way to scare us.

But, while they are a menace, they are not as big or as organised a menace as the Government likes to make out.

The State and the vainglorious bureaucrats of the ‘security’ services need to pretend that the terrorists are a tightly organised and terrifying threat, to make themselves look big as well — and to help them get hold of new powers to snoop on us and push us around.

The Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, hasn’t got anybody to surrender to. The South Koreans don’t want to pay for rebuilding the North, which would wipe out their economy. George W. Bush, always scanning the horizon for someone to be afraid of, needs to pretend that North Korea is a terrible threat to the USA. And Kim fears that if he just steps down, and admits that the weird godless religion of Kim-worship is a lie, he will probably be torn to pieces by the disillusioned, half-starved mob.

Is he dead? How would anybody know? Is he ill? I expect so.

He has not treated his body as a temple, and North Korean elite medicine (how can I put this?) relies rather too heavily on feeding the sick person the private parts of dogs.

It is cruel and pointless to continue the pretence that they are a menace to anyone but themselves.
As with Cuba.
In normal times, the pictures of simpering airheaded Young Tories in Tatler, posing as if the world belongs to them by right, would have sunk the Conservatives for ever.
Talking to the Protestant left
On Palin again
The left-liberals* have been terrible at reacting to Palin, indeed falling right into the GOP trap of viciously attacking her background and thus bringing the culture war back to electoral politics. Do these people want to lose?
From the LRC blog.

*I think Mr Gregory means to distinguish from classical liberals like me.
From LRC
From RR

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where Greek-rite Slav churches in the eastern US started
St Michael’s, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. The Russian Orthodox of course had churches in their Alaska colony since the late 1700s and in California but it all really began in America with the Greek Catholics from Galicia and Ruthenia in the late-1800s coal towns.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cigarette-smoking quotations
  • Prim power. As a typical man in this instance I don’t like the frumpy frocks being praised but this line from Helen is good (related to YFhood): Prim is rare; prim has standards; prim is the opposite of mousy. What’s going on between postmodern conservatism and vintage fashion?
  • One on a book I’ve not read (but from a writer I know of: The Quiet American and The Power and the Glory) but like Waugh in Brideshead Revisited this seems to point out that Catholicism’s view of good and evil isn’t the cartoon its enemies and even some of its well-intentioned friends think.
  • Soft eugenics and autonomy. What the PC really think. By eliminating less perfect humans, deformity and disability become more pronounced and less acceptable. Those who escape the net of screening are often viewed as mistakes or burdens. A tragic choice becomes a presumption — “Didn’t you get an amnio?” [think ‘Well, I never!’ but in a Valley Girl accent] — and then a prejudice. And this feeds a social Darwinism in which the stronger are regarded as better, the dependent are viewed as less valuable, and the weak must occasionally be culled. The decision to carry a mentally retarded child to term means something different in a world where ninety percent of women in that position choose not to. In such a world, the assumption will be that the mother is either a well-to-do woman who can comfortably afford to have an extraordinary child—call it “Variations on a Theme of Angelina Jolie” — or a pro-lifer whose (self-imposed) absolutist beliefs are responsible for her situation.
The right and the left on American imperial decline
From Joshua
From LRC
  • More on the trouble with voting. Every year we get these huge get-out-the-vote drives that are designed to legitimize a system and to make you think you have a choice. If you knew you did not have a choice you might balk a little. So they pretend to give you a choice between a statist and another statist and do everything in their power to prevent you from hearing the non-statist point of view and if you dare to learn of it on your own, they will stop you from being able to vote for your particular candidate. They are good at it.
  • US presidential write-in candidate requirements for each state.
Palin not a populist
... whose campaigns (lieutenant governor, governor and now Veep) are financed and even run by the lobbyists and executives of Big Oil, Wall Street bankers, drug companies, telecom giants and other entrenched economic interests.
From RR.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, no, she didn’t!
Oh, yes, she did!
It’s fun to watch your mere existence cheese off the left but do please shut up and go back to Alaska.
The US needs ‘a rebellion’
Here Howard Zinn sounds like the left wing of the kind of truly populist (in the best sense) coalition against the two big parties that Ron Paul would like to see. From Tripp.
US NEA funds construction of $1.3bn poem
From The Onion
LRC’s Bill Anderson on the US election and the culture wars
He likes Camille Paglia for the same reasons I do
I could admire his [Obama’s] own lifestyle and the fact that he clearly does not have the reputation of being a skirt-chaser (unlike John McCain 30 years ago).
A liability for Mad Mac to the Prot right (‘Christianists’, you can hear the equally odious left hiss) but I still think their power is overrated. (They including Jerry Falwell were a footnote in the 1980 election, end of story; the Republican régimes then and now are neocon-run shows.) Palin’s appeal includes but is not limited to them as I think McCain’s recent upswing among white women shows.

As with Bill Clinton (by accident a pretty good conservative president, arguably more so than Reagan) I think the skirt-chasing part of McCain’s life/past could work for him much like Palin’s frontier lust for life, a primal strength (virility), even pagan, something that rednecks and Paglia alike respond well to whilst the appeal of Obama’s politically correct abstemiousness seems limited to the most powerful voting bloc of his base. (They only like promiscuity when it buys into their ideology.) Irrelevant. AFAIK George W. Bush’s personal life is likewise entirely above-board and admirable; he still never should have been president.

I imagine evangelicals don’t believe Obama’s gestures towards them and neither do I. The surveys I’ve seen in passing agree. He really does say one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco about ‘those people’.

Go, gridlock!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From Steve Sailer
What brought on 9/11
None of which has been remedied; quite the opposite
From Joshua
The state of journalism
A look at my business
The DN’s circulation has dipped to 110,000 copies a day, fewer papers than the Metro distributes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From Michael Lawrence
  • On staying home: The principled non-voter often does a very good job of explaining to his friends and relatives the absurdities of the two-party system. The apathetic voter, on the other hand, still doesn’t know who Dick Cheney is.
  • Voluntarism and Islam or the Pope’s point at Regensburg. In a religiously neutral constitutional government the head’s religion is irrelevant but
    a far more relevant question for Barack Obama would be this: Do you think that God is not bound by the laws of “right and wrong,” for lack of a better term? THAT is the answer I would be interested in, and it is the matter that I would find to be an important starting point in dialogue with Muslims.
Pentecostals like Baptists were for peace 90 years ago
What went wrong? IIRC they turned to the state including the military after societal collapse in the late 1960s but they’d long been conditioned to it by the state’s seeming charity (in the Depression for example)... and American exceptionalism.


A reminder: I’m not a pacifist.

From Fr Methodius.
Ron Paul’s press conference

The statement

His four principles

On which at least three of the small-party candidates agree and the two big ones are dead wrong
The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region.

We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction.

We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt.

The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended.
The good leftists and good rightists all agreeing on gutting the empire, dismantling the national security state and ratcheting back the profligate corporatism. Anti-Fed and anti-war, a wonderful, cross-spectrum, short-term American populist program that would do away with the worst of the national leviathan.

No income tax, no Fed, no drug war, no gun control, no monetary fraud, no welfare state, no police state, no torture, no spying, no conscription, no censorship.

Non-aggression, personal responsibility, property rights.
From the LRC blog.
Anyone who says that city-dwellers are rootless has never met a New Yorker
The culture-wars front line is not country versus city notes Taki’s Helen Rittelmeyer
There is nothing contradictory about cosmopolitan conservatism.
Look at Catholicism for example, universal/international and particular/local all at once.
Edmund Burke mistrusted an overly abstract mind, but he mistrusted a narrow mind just as much.

As much as I value the humility that small-town residents display, leadership demands a willingness to transcend narrow habits and concerns as much as it demands Burkean modesty.

My mother and friends all live in California. The only “civic pride” here in La-La land is loyalty to professional sports teams. What kind of community is that?

Most urban liberals are... intolerant and totally ignorant.

Cities are tremendous economic engines: just watch all the white people pouring into and out of them every workday. I bit the bullet and suffer a lower living standard by not following other conservative whites into the suburbs and exurbs, an existence I found soulless and stifling.

In short, this paleo, middle-aged, urban hipster is telling the Republican Party and its phony ruralism to stuff it.

Palin is so down-home sneery and smug it’s easy to relish expectations of Biden gutting her like a baby seal in foreign-policy debates.

The effect of the Internet, especially broadband, is not to be discounted for its effect on the growing political sophistication of the great unwashed (myself included) and influence of the paleo viewpoint.

Ignorance is
NOT bliss, and even the unsophisticated don’t like being lied to.

Sarah Palin is no ruralist but rather the Queen of Suburban Sprawl.
Daniel Larison on phoney populism